The NBA trade deadline one week away, the Sixers are doing their due diligence on who to acquire. What power forwards could the team target?
PJ Tucker has been traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, so the fan-favorite target is off-limits. He went for far more than the Sixers should have been willing to trade, so there’s no real loss there. Who could the team pivot to now that Tucker is officially off the market?
Backup power forward is an obvious need for the Sixers as Mike Scott (though he’s been impressive lately) just won’t cut it come playoff time. The team needs someone who is either a more consistent shooter or an improved defender. Both would be nice, but those players frankly aren’t on the market.
Sixers Power Forward Trade Options
Target #1 Doug McDermott
The sky is still blue, and the Sixers still need shooting. The team ranks 13th in 3P%, which is fine but not great. Where the real problem lies in that the team is 28th in threes attempted per game. The team is handcuffing themselves by not shooting more, and certain players are aware of this.
Now one thing that would help is Ben Simmons actually taking three before the game is over. Much more realistic, though, is for the team to add a shooter at the trade deadline. Doug McDermott could be the perfect addition.
McDermott is shooting 37.5% from three this season, but he’s a career 40.7% shooter from deep and shot 43.5% last season. His ability to catch fire from deep is much needed in Philadelphia. While he doesn’t provide much defensively, the truth is he won’t have to. That’s what Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Matisse Thybulle are for.
The Indiana Pacers are currently 10th in the east and have lost eight of their last ten. Eventually, they will have to decide whether they stick out this year or try and get ready for next season. Much of the Pacers roster is locked up for next season, but McDermott is a free agent and could easily look for a change of scenery.
It would make sense for the Pacers to try and capitalize on what they could get for him. Two quality seconds and expiring contracts would be considered a success for both teams.
Target #2 Thaddeus Young
It may be difficult, but former Sixer Thaddeus Young should be very high on the team’s list of trade targets if possible. The veteran power forward has been the glue keeping Chicago together. Without him, the team would have fallen apart a long time ago. His impact both on and off the court can’t be overstated, so why would the Bulls be looking to move him?
The harsh reality for Chicago is that Young doesn’t match up with their timeline. Not only that but without Young’s contract on the books next season, the Bulls could become major players in a high-quality free agency class and actually manage to build around Zach LaVine.
The Sixers would love to help them accomplish that because, in Young, the team would have a vet who can do a bit of everything. Young can score, defend, rebound, and even handle the ball a bit. Young is an absolute professional who can still play at a high level. He’s never been a particularly great shooter, but he shot over 35% from deep last season on 3.5 attempts per game.
The Bulls are expected to be future-focused while not completely giving up on this season. Making the playoffs is obviously important to Zach LaVine; Chicago can help secure their future by making it even as an 8th seed. To do so, they need to get back a vet who can help in a similar way to Thaddeus Young. Danny Green is the right man for the job as he provides veteran savvy, solid defense and a consistent shot, all of which would help Chicago continue to push for the playoffs.
A deal of Danny Green, a first, and a quality second for Young and Garrett Temple works for both teams as the Bulls see a return that helps in the short and long term while Philly receives Young and Danny Green lite (Garret Temple).
Target #3 Nemanja Bjelica
The target that should be at the top of the Sixers list is also the cheapest, and that’s a big factor in their value. Sixers fans may remember Bjelica committing to the Sixers and then spurning them for Sacramento in 2018. Hurt feelings aside, it may finally be time for Bjelica to come to Philly.
The 6’10” stretch forward has struggled this season, shooting a mere 29.6% from three. As concerning as that is, he will almost certainly bounce back as he has averaged over 40% from three in each of the past four seasons. Still, it affects his value in the present which is great news for the Sixers, who can keep the purse strings tight in their pursuit.
The Sacramento Kings’ season is over, and the team should be moving on from any contract that won’t be a part of their future. That includes Bjelica. The honest truth is that Njelica is a buy-out candidate, one the Sixers would certainly be interested in. Still, if the Kings can get literally anything back for him, they will.
The Sixers would only need to send a single second-round pick in return for Bjelica. They have their $8.2 million trade exception created from the Al Horford trade. This deal wouldn’t be the one to guarantee a finals trip but paired with another trade, say for Kyle Lowry or Victor Oladipo, and adding a player in the buy-out market, the Sixers would be confirmed as one of the top contenders in the NBA.